Conference USA Baseball Tournament sets attendance record - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Conference USA Baseball Tournament sets attendance record

The turnout for Sunday's championship game were through the roof.  (Photo source: WLOX) The turnout for Sunday's championship game were through the roof.  (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The Conference USA Baseball Tournament brought thousands of fans to the Mississippi Coast. The event was held at MGM Park in Biloxi and was, by all accounts, a raging success. 

When Conference USA signed a contract with Overtime Sports to play its conference baseball tournament at MGM Park, no one anticipated a conference attendance record would be set. The final number should be between 20,000 and 21,000 spectators.

While the overall attendance number for the event was impressive, hometown favorites Southern Miss consistently drew big crowds, with the turnout for Sunday's championship game against Rice through the roof. 

"We set a record two or three days ago with one attendance figure bigger than anything Conference USA had ever seen. Then on Sunday, with USM playing Rice, we set a new attendance record with 5,216 people in the park," said Tim Bennett, President of Overtime Sports.   

Bennett admits that USM getting to the championship game was critical to success. If the Golden Eagles had been knocked out early, the CUSA tournament numbers would have been lackluster.

The economic impact of the Conference USA Baseball Tournament goes beyond tickets and concessions sold at MGM Park. It spreads out into the community.

"There are 40 players per team, and they have to eat three times a day over a week. With the eight teams, we had teams staying in D'Iberville, Ocean Springs, and Guflport. We did that on purpose, because we wanted to spread out the economic impact," Bennett said.

The City of Biloxi and charities chosen to benefit from the event were big winners. The city gets $2 per ticket sold. So, if you go with the 20,000 number, that's $40,000 for Biloxi.

“Every day except Sunday we had a charity organization involved, so that's about $15,000 going to charity," Bennett said.

Conference USA will be back. A three-year contract with a two year option was signed with Overtime Sports to play the tournament at MGM Park.

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